On to Switzerland
We woke up at precisely 8-8:30ish. We got out of bed when we were fully ready. Showered. Packed. Today we opted to give the restaurant in the base of the hotel a shot for breakfast. There’s a daily breakfast buffet that’s rather pricey, but heavily discounted for guests of the hotel. It offered a lot of options; more than puff pastry variations that are found at most other breakfast bakeries near here. We tried fruit salad, “omelet” (quiche is more accurate), croissant, bacon, and yogurt. All of it was quite good, though the bacon was a little floppier than we both like. The omelet was packed with all sorts of things; peppers, bacon, brats, and cheese. The yogurt was actually a parfait with dried fruits and nuts and granola. This was probably the most filling breakfast we’ve found, and maybe the cheapest, too!
After breakfast, we had time to walk down the street to a bakery we spotted the day before. Here we bought a couple of sandwiches for lunch since we have a long travel day ahead. On the walk back to the hotel, we also grabbed a bag of trail mix at what appeared to be a health food store. We grabbed our stuff from the room and checked out, then made our way to the bus stop. We were waiting on the 205 because the sign said Baden-Baden Bahnhof. About 3 minutes before the bus was due, Mandy suggested we go across the street to check the map. The map showed that bus line 244 also has a stop called Bahnhof, and the two bus lines are nowhere near each other. With no idea how to confirm which train station we needed to get to, we made a snap decision to stick with the 205 and hope for the best. It was set to arrive before the 244, so we hustled back across the street just in time, and asked the driver if his bus would take us to the station we needed to be at. We had no idea if he could understand where we needed to be, but he said we were on the right bus. Hardly comforting. We rode nervously all the way to the last stop, where suddenly everything looked familiar. Nailed it. We’ve been at this train station before, when we came in to Baden-Baden, and it’s the same station we needed to get back out again. Since we had about an hour to kill before the train was set to leave, we grabbed an iced coffee and a caramel macchiato at Coffee Fellows. They were both really good. I think the coffee may have even been cold-brewed; it didn’t have the typical bitterness of a hot coffee.
Around noon we started to gather our bags and make our way to platform (gleis) 4 to take the train to Basel SBB. We boarded the train and found two seats together, facing in the direction of our travel I prefer this orientation for long trips. There is no WiFi on this train but we decided to use the time to reminisce about our time in Baden-Baden while typing this blog draft for you in Microsoft Word. Rob ate his schnitzel sandwich for lunch, hardly 5 minutes into the train ride. He is a growing boy and often hungry. We enjoyed watching the scenery fly by our windows. As we had gotten into Baden-Baden well after dark we didn’t get to see much of the landscape on the way in. This region of the country is spattered with foothills of the Alps so it is very scenic to watch the villages among the rolling hills pass by out our train windows.
We had booked this train route to build in some longer connection times, thanks to our experience in getting from Ingolstadt to Baden-Baden in the most convoluted way. Our first stop was in Basel, Switzerland and we had about 40 minutes here before the next train. We sat outside and enjoyed the warmer weather than we had had in our previous days. Before long, we boarded our next train and enjoyed the short 30 minute ride to Olten. Here we had a 45 minute break between trains. We decided to venture away from the train station just a bit to get a couple pictures of the nearby river. This was kept short as we did not want to miss any connections on this trip. The next leg of the trip was the longest at around 2 hours. Our plan was to try to get a seat on the restaurant car of the train so that we could enjoy a beer with the scenery. When the train arrived it already had quite a few passengers and the restaurant cabin was full. We made our way through the car to the second class car where we found two seats together and promptly claimed them. The rest of the journey was uneventful. We glided smoothly down the tracks past beautiful Swiss countryside, farms, large lakes, and views of mountains off in the distance. We finally arrived in Geneva around 5:45 pm and were happy to see that our hotel was across the street from the train station.
We checked into our hotel and promptly dropped off our luggage so that we could go explore and find some dinner. We decided on a restaurant that was close to our hotel and offered a mixture of Italian and Swiss specialties. I decided on the chicken cordon bleu. I had the tagliatelle porcini. We decided to split a bottle of white wine which was made here in Switzerland. Rob passed all of the etiquette tests when the server brought the bottle to the table and poured our glasses. After our lovely dinner we ended with a dessert of chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. It was starting to get chilly as the evening progressed so we retired to our hotel to watch a movie before falling asleep. Yes, I stayed awake through the entire movie!
Relaxing in Baden-Baden
We woke up around 8:30am. We got dressed leisurely for a change, which was fantastic. We contemplated the hotel’s breakfast, but opted instead to just get outside and figure it out. We found a little bakery just down the street, in the alleys we had explored the previous night around midnight on our way in. Fatih Markt is the name of the bakery. We ordered a kaffee and tee. We picked out a random snack bar. While the coffee was being made, I decided to order a slice of…something. I don’t know what it was, but it had cheese and spinach in a puff pastry. It was pretty tasty, whatever it was. We purchased our goods and stepped out to wander around on foot while we worked on our coffee and tea. We spotted a pretty tall hill and a little hidden staircase going up it. Hoping for a cool view, we made our way up the stairs, which zigged and zagged across the hill all the way up. At the top, we were afforded pretty good views but it would have been better if the weather were clearer. It was a lovely stroll all around the hill, and back down around the other side. We were lucky to stay mostly dry the whole time, because right about the time we got back to the hotel, it started to rain. Perfect timing! We relaxed a while in the room and sorted some upcoming travel plans; buying train tickets and picking places to stay and whatnot.
After we were all square, we set back out on foot. We made our way to Friedrichsbad, a Roman-style bath, which is just up the street. Once there, we checked in and paid for our three hours stay. We found our way to the locker room and put all our clothes in. Then, we found our way to room #1, which was an awesome shower. The water actually felt heavy, there was so much of it raining down. From there, we went to a series of saunas, steam rooms, pools, and showers of various temperatures. Each of the 17 stages had a specified amount of time to spend in it posted on the wall. At the end, when we were feeling good and relaxed, we were to jump into a frigid pool “rapidly”. That part was brutal, but then we got to wrap in a warm towel and dry off. Once we were dry, we lubed up with lotion and were lead to a quiet, dim room. Here we were wrapped up by staff like burritos on a bed for a half hour nap. We heard the church bells ring out at 5:45 and 6pm. Then there was a song or something shortly after 6 on the church bells. We don’t know, but it was a lot of ringing. After the nap, we moved to a reading room where we relaxed a while longer and drank some tea. By about 6:30, we were feeling somewhat hungry, so we put our clothes back on and made our way back out to the street.
We changed our clothes and our gear back at the hotel. We picked up a train ticket that the Hotel Quellenhof Sophia reception had graciously printed for us. We set back out in search of dinner, unsure where exactly we’d go, but comforted by the fact that there are about a thousand restaurants within walking distance here. We ended up at Bistrorante Café Lifestyle. We opted to sit outside because even though the weather was chilly, they have blankets on all the chairs. I ordered a hefeweizen half liter. I ordered a Riesling. We opted to split a pizza Romana, which had prosciutto and salami. All of it was very tasty. We were thankful for the blankets as the night grew dark and the air cooled off further. While we were finishing up the pizza, a light rain began to fall, and so we were thankful for the umbrella over our table. It did not rain long; after we had finished and paid (die rechnung, bitte!), it was dry again. We wandered around the now empty streets to take some pictures. Rob was still hungry, so we were also looking for an after dinner snack. Pretty much everything was closed by 8pm, except for restaurants, so we gave up the search and wound our way back to the hotel to make some phone calls before bed. After chatting with family a little while and making some more travel arrangements, we fell asleep around 11:30.
I woke up around 0715 this morning and began gathering my things together and packing away what items I could. Dan and Chelsea were planning to head out early and catch their train to Paris. Kerri and Theo also had a train booked, but their destination was Berlin. After morning showers everyone pitched in to do their part in cleaning the communal areas. Rob made us all breakfast with the remaining eggs and bacon that we had at the house. Dan and Chelsea had to leave the earliest so we said our goodbyes to them and finished packing our things. And then there were four. Rob and Mandy were all ready to go and went to say our goodbyes to Kerri and Theo. It turns out they were also ready to go. So we headed off together to the train station to go to Munchen Hauptbahnhof (Hbf.). This is Munich's central station. I was starting to get nervous because Rob and I had a tour booked at 11:30 at the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt but we still needed to buy train tickets and I wasn't sure that we would make it in time. Once we got to Munchen Hbf, we waited in line for information at what appeared to be a ticket counter. It may have been a place to get tickets, but not for DB, which is what we needed to get us to Ingolstadt. The lady politely gave us directions for where we needed to be. We quickly made our way to the ticket kiosk for DB trains. Kerri and Theo were behind us as they needed to pickup tickets they had already purchased. I found the tickets we needed and purchased them as quickly as I possibly could. It took about 5 tries because the card wasn’t working for some reason. Our train was leaving in 4 minutes!! We quickly said goodbye to Kerri and Theo and ran off towards platform 16. And then there were two.
We got on the train as the doors closed behind us. We found seats as we started rolling down the tracks. The ride was very quiet and smooth as we rolled through very scenic farmlands. It took us about an hour, and we disembarked at the end of the line at Ingolstadt Hbf. We quickly found a locker on the train platform to throw all our gear into. I raced to get change so that we could pay for the locker. Four “euro dollars” later, we exited with minimal time to spare, and quickly found a taxi to take us to the Audi Forum. We arrived and checked in just minutes before the tour began. Alexandra introduced herself as our guide, and began giving us the history and safety information. After a brief video, we got onto a bus to take us across the gigantic factory. We stepped inside the body shop and watched as hundreds of robots worked in harmony to form complex welded assemblies. We saw a very impressive automated conveyor system which delivered these weldments to each successive location for higher-level assembly. By the end of the body shop line, raw flat steel has been formed and welded and glued together into the vague shape of a vehicle. It is far from complete, however.
We hopped back into the bus before we could see the rest of the process. We followed Alexandra into the assembly shop. Here we could see a rainbow of different colored A3s and Q2s in all different trim levels being final-assembled. It was fascinating to see that they are each assembled in a seemingly random order. I guess I expected that they would build, for example, all the base level trim A3s first, then S3s after, so that the parts wouldn't get all mixed up. But apparently they have all that taken care of by a very carefully controlled just-in-sequence manufacturing system. There is much more manual labor involved in final assembly than the body shop, but that is not to say that there isn't a lot of automation and mechanical assistance. The tooling involved is absolutely fascinating. We got to see the marriage of the chassis with engine/drivetrain assemblies, assembly of wheels, interior bits, and so much more. By the end of the final assembly line, vehicles are driven off the automatic conveyor under their own power. From here they are scrutinized at a final quality checkpoint. Then they are ready for delivery to the customer.
The sheer numbers Alexandra fed to us were astounding. They can produce up to 400 cars per day. The factory covers something like 2 and a half million square meters. There are 44,000 employees in the Ingolstadt factory alone; it’s a large city. It boggles the mind. We very much enjoyed the tour, though by the end we were quite hungry. We made our way towards the museum but stopped in first at the on-site restaurant. That one is for employees only, so we went across the parking lot to a different restaurant. I had a delicious schnitzel, with fries. I had a currywurst, also with fries. After we got some food in our bellies, we checked out the museum. There, Audi displays a huge amount of their history, going back to times before they were Audi, but four separate companies. From there, they became Auto Union for a time, before becoming Audi. There are a lot of really neat cars and motorcycles on display here. There's also a lot of rather boring ones that didn't catch our eye; think mid-70s and 80s econoboxes. Once we reached the ground floor of the museum, we exited onto the street to try to figure out how to get back to our luggage.
We walked up the street a short distance in search of a bus station that was on the correct side of the street. No luck. So we turned around and realized that we had walked past it at the start. We bought the ticket to ride the ride. After about 15 minutes on the bus (which was how long the taxi ride earlier took), we began to wonder aloud if we were in fact on the right bus. Or if we had somehow missed our stop. Just before a real panic was able to take hold, the name of our stop appeared on the screen of upcoming stops. WHEW! We hopped out, back at Ingolstadt Hbf. and collected our gear. We purchased tickets to our next destination and found the correct platform. Our itinerary had us take a train from Ingolstadt to Augsburg. From there, we were supposed to take a train to Karlsruhe. However, the train we were on arrived late to Augsburg and we missed the connection. Our itinerary showed about 13 minutes to make the transfer, which should have been plenty. However, we disembarked the train about 6 minutes after we were supposed to be leaving the station on the next train and our train was already gone. So we found the information booth and requested to be rerouted, which was handled quickly, and with no charge to us. Relieved, we set out to find a coffee to kill a little time. We found a cafe just across the street, and started to relax for a minute. I was just beginning to dig into my pack for my jacket when Mandy said, "What is 'zeit'?" with the new itinerary in hand. I told her it means “time”. “This train leaves Munich at 1845, but how do we get there?” Oh no. So we ran across the street back into the train station, to see that the first train we needed was not listed on the new itinerary. But luckily we had about 15 minutes before the next train left to go to Munich. We made our way to the platform, and waited patiently. For a train that never came. The platform was reassigned, and a different train was set to take us to Munich. Back to Munich. We got on and got seated. It was approximately 6pm. We tried to relax for about an hour; the duration of the trip back to Munich.
When we got back to Munich, we had to transfer to yet another train which would take us to Mannheim. We had about 15 minutes for this transfer, which happened smoothly. We found some seats with a table between and got comfy. This train ride would be almost three hours, but there was work to be done. Thankfully, this train offered free WiFi onboard. We connected all our devices and tried to get accustomed to working with the arduously slow internet connection. Mandy worked housing and Rob worked on the blog. About halfway through the trip, we had a quasi-confirmed place to stay and a couple posts ready to send out. Getting the pictures uploaded was s o o o s l o w. We were comforted to know that although we would be getting in late, we probably had a place to stay for the night. We were able to heave a sigh of relief and actually relax for the remainder of the train ride. You take it when you can get it while backpacking, because the rest of the time is gogogo.
We arrived in Mannheim and searched for our next connection. This train was to take us to Rastatt. We found a platform which showed the next train was headed there, but the train number was different than what our itinerary showed. It also showed that the train was delayed one hour. By now, it was about 10:30pm, so when we saw that, we were both leaning toward seeing if we could just spend the night in Mannheim. An hour delay would mean we’d get to our final destination at about 1:30-2am. We searched for an information booth, to confirm that we wouldn’t have to pay if we just completed our journey the following day. The woman at the kiosk explained that the train we wanted was leaving in 2 minutes. So we scrapped the plan of staying the night, and dashed back to the platform. We arrived just in time to wait for the train to arrive in two minutes. We found seats while we caught our breath. The train took off and we rode about 45 minutes through pitch black lands.
We got off in Rastatt where we learned that there is a section of train under construction. So the next leg of our trip was by bus. Since we were some of the last to cram in, we were stuck standing. I did my best to not move for the entire ride, so I didn’t disturb any passengers with my pack. After about 15 minutes, the bus began to get really hot inside, and smelly. At about the 25 minute mark, we finally stopped. We were in Baden-Baden! Finally in the same town as our hotel. It was approximately midnight. Unsure how far it was exactly to the hotel, we found a map. With no scale, it was hard to be sure, but it looked far. We asked a man who looked like he worked at the station how best to get to our hotel. We pointed to the approximate location on the map. He showed us to a bus nearby, and indicated that it was leaving shortly. We ran. Then we sat forever. We found that there was open WiFi access, so we pulled up the map on Mandy’s phone (of course, the device with the least amount of battery remaining) and downloaded them for offline use. We tried to figure out which stop would bring us closest to the hotel. We determined Hindenburgplatz was probably as close as we could get, but it was still hard to tell exactly how far the walk would be. With Mandy’s phone down to about 10% battery life remaining, we tried to be as frugal with the screen time as we could. But we had to keep referring to the maps to try and get our bearings in this pitch dark, foreign land with no one around to help out. It was great! We found ourselves soon walking down deserted alleys packed with tiny shops, all closed up for the night. Right about the time we were ready to admit we were completely lost, Mandy noted, “Hey, we’re on Sophienstrase. We must be close.” The hotel name had Sophia in it; can’t argue with that logic. We continued about 50m and she saw the sign. We made it! Reception was supposed to close at midnight, but they must have waited up for us because the door was still open when we finally arrived at 12:20am. We checked in quickly, found our room, dropped our bags and crashed. Exhausted.
Noch ein bier, bitte!
We woke up at 7am and hopped in the shower straight away. After we dressed, we built breakfasts for ourselves which had been prepared by Dan. Local bacon and eggs and cheese. It was all delicious. The bacons were tiny though, and translucent-thin. After breakfast and after everyone was showered and ready, we set out for the train once again. This time we were only going a few stops. Our final destination was Goetheplatz.
We got off the train and walked the last few blocks to Oktoberfest! It was about 45F outside; we could see our breath. We were able to walk right in at about 9:15am with no line whatsoever. We walked toward the Paulaner tent and were pumped to find no line there either. We walked in and found a table for all six of us and set up shop. A waitress arrived shortly thereafter and just knew, "Sechs litre bier?" "JA!," we told her. We paid up when she returned, and quickly got to work. Round one began at about 9:30am. That makes the rest of the day rather difficult to keep track of, you understand. We did our best though. We ordered gigantic pretzels for a midmorning snack. They were very tasty, and paired perfectly with round 2 beers. Round 3 and lunch occurred sometime around 11:30. Mandy and Kerri shared a half roasted chicken. I had some more weisswurst. I spied a better eating method from a local, and had greater success this time. At yesterday's breakfast, I tried squeezing the sausage out of the end of the skin. A much better way is to slice the skin once lengthwise, then peel the it off entirely. The meat yield is much greater with this method. They're so tasty either way. After what was round 3 for some, round 4 for others, and tabletop dancing for everyone, we made our way outside. We wanted to explore the entire fairgrounds, but there just wasn't time. We were hungry for something more filling than some wurst or pretzels. We were thirsty for plain old free tap water; something that is puzzlingly difficult to come by at restaurants here. We were simply tired from all the festivities.
So we made our way towards home, but stopped at Marienplatz again on the way (actually this was one stop in the opposite direction of our airbnb but we all agreed that we needed food). We returned to Wildmosers, this time for dinner. Mandy and I split a prosciutto pizza which was amazing. It probably could have been anything, and we would have eaten it entirely. We were just hungry. We ordered still water here, but it came in a bottle. Why can't we just get free tap water? After dinner, we hopped on the train for the last few stops to home. Everyone spread out for a bit, and then regrouped to review photos and giggle at remembering (or not) the day's events.
In and around Munich
We woke up at about 2am and tried fitfully to get back to sleep. Eventually, we did. We woke up for real at about 7 am. We got showered and dealt with some network issues for blogging. You wouldn't believe the struggle we go through to post this for you. It's hard work travelling the world. Once everyone else was up and showered and dressed and coffee'd and ready, we set out to find breakfast. "Fruhstuck" in German. We found ourselves in Marienplatz when we got off the train. Right in the thick of it. We tried to figure out what and where we would eat and how best to make that decision. We split up for a few, and then regrouped in the middle of the plaza. Kerri and Theo got an appetizer; pretzel and a shokolat - they were the perfect pre-breakfast and then joined us for the main event. We ate at Wildmosers Restaurant/Cafe. I got a pair of white sausages and a pretzel. I got a pretzel and a roll and ham and cheese and nutella and butter and jelly. It was not at all what I expected. In my head I imagined an assortment of pretzel rolls with ham, cheese, strawberry jelly, and nutella. I didn't know that the roll was actually an item on its own so I was confused when I got my plate. It did satisfy my hunger though and the pretzel with nutella was delicious.
A curious crowd began to gather around the square where we were seated. 11:00 dinged and the dancers in the tower began to spin. The spectators (us included) were in awe. After the ten minutes dance, the crowd dispersed. We hung out a while and tried to formulate a plan. Theo needed to get some cash from the geldautomat (ATM) and the girls wanted to try to find dirndls. I opted to go with the girls and we split up with walkie talkies so we could stay in touch easily.
We had been told that H&M sells dirndls. The road just off the square at Marienplatz has at least 3 so we checked one out. No dice. Then another. No dice. Kerri asked an employee if they sold dirndls at any H&M. Negative. So we went to Kaufhof. Eight floors of store. They had dirndls. And lederhosen. And just about anything you could want to buy, really. Theo and Dan caught up with us again at this store. We all shopped around for various goods for quite a while. After we all got what we needed, we got back out and headed to the farmer's market, Viktualien Markt. We wandered around and got some breakfast items for tomorrow, and eventually we found lunch too. I got a slice of smoked pork on a roll. And a beer, obviously. It was outstanding. After lunch we wandered around the market some more. Then we went to the train station.
We made our way toward Dachau train station. Once there, we took a bus to the former concentration camp. We wandered around the memorial for a couple hours, soaking up the morbid history. A lot of horrific events happened there during the 1930s and 1940s. By the time the park was closing, we had hardly read a quarter of the signs in there, but we had to make towards the exit. Theo lagged behind trying to take in more details - we ultimately gave him his own walkie as to not have to wait for him. We caught the bus and train back to where we'd came.
Once home, we got dressed in our newly-found authentic wear. Mandy wore a dirndl and Rob wore lederhosen. We hopped back on the train and went to Sendlinger Tor. We got off the underground into what felt like a college campus. It reminded us of Commonwealth Ave. in downtown Boston. We were headed towards Andy's Krablergarten. Unfortunately, the restaurant was completely full, and we were turned away at the door. Unsure what to do, but hungry nonetheless, Kerri, Theo and I went to grab a slice of pizza next door. We regrouped on the sidewalk to research good food options. Our resources were limited with no WiFi, so we walked instead. We found a few restaurants, but none of them looked appealing to us, so we decided to walk back towards the train. When we got back to Andy's we checked in once more, and they just happened to have a table available for us. We were in luck! We got seated and ordered a round of beers. Then we ordered a schnitzel each. There were so many flavors and they were all fantastic! Rob had the mustard one, or senfschnitzel. Mandy had the Bavarian-spice flavored schnitzel. So good. Kerri had the Schnitzel Obatzter - schnitzel marinated in a cheese sauce - it was delectable. We all shared a small bite with one another, so we could each take the full flavor tour of schnitzel.
After dinner, we made our way back home via the train. Subway is more accurate. We found a shortcut on the walk back from the station, via a hidden sidewalk through the shrubs. Once we were home, we opened a few of the beers that the owner made available in the communal fridge. We sent our friend Cate a few messages on Instagram to coordinate some FaceTime action with Loki with my iPhone. She called us with him nearby so we could see him. We talked to him, but he clearly did not recognize our voices through the phones. Or he just didn't care. It was awesome to see him anyway, but a little sad that he was so indifferent. Typical dog though. We were limited to five minutes screen time by Kerri so we made it quick. We were very thankful for Kerri's generosity in lending us her phone. If there is a bill I was told to forward it to team Cote. Cross your fingers. We hung out a while after, and then found our way to bed.
Logan to Munich
It’s time for our honeymoon! We have spent this whirlwind of a week unpacking from the wedding, working, getting as much snuggle time with Loki, and packing for the next trip. It feels like we’ve hardly been home. I took today off. I had to work a half day, and left at 11am. I got in some final puppy snuggles before forcing myself out of bed at 5am one last time. Mandy had everything set to go, including dropping Loki off at his friends’ house down the street. He gave one casual glance back and then plodded inside to, presumably, rouse the troops. He likes to get everyone fired up. We met at home around 11:30 to do a final checklist and pack ultra last minute items before the car from Boston Limousine picked us up at about 11:50. We (we in this scenario = Rob) had a lovely chat with our driver, Joe about work for the uneventful ride into the city. Traffic was very light and we made quick time getting to Logan International Airport.
Traffic inside the airport was even lighter, which was amazing! We printed our boarding tickets because the text message version we had requested never came through, and then we headed to security. There were just two people in front of us, and we were through the checkpoint in a matter of minutes. It was unbelievable. Making such excellent time all the way to the gate left us with way too much time and nothing to do with it. So we waited. Eventually, it was time. We boarded with just our carry on backpacks and found convenient overhead storage right at our seats. How rare is that?! We took off from the north end of 22R at Logan at 3:05pm and headed west.
We landed in Toronto, Canada at 4:45pm after an altogether uneventful flight. We were anxious because we had a flight to catch which began boarding just 25 minutes later. We tried to get up as soon as we were allowed, but the flight attendant notified us that they were unable to open the door due to an adjacent plane that was currently boarding. We stood by impatiently. When the doors finally opened, we raced at a brisk power walk through what seemed like miles and miles of airport. We caught a ride on an express, high-speed moving sidewalk which helped immensely. Mandy was struggling to keep up due to wearing her adorable new heels. I had purchased waterproof booties with a slight heel to wear at Oktoberfest to hopefully protect my feet from spilled beer yet still look cute. I decided to wear them as my other shoes would pack down smaller in my backpack.
We arrived to the gate, sweating and trying to catch our breath, to find that the flight was delayed by 15 minutes. Suddenly, we had all the time in the world. So we got a sandwich. Grilled chicken, cheddar and pesto. It was decent as far as airport fast food goes. We loaded up with zone 4 and made our way all the way back to the ultra-poor section in the rear of the A330. This is the biggest plane we’ve ever been on; 8 rows across! We are happy to have 2 seats alone with no third person to step over, under, or around. Note: when checking in for this flight, we looked at upgrading to business class so we would be able to lay down. The fee to upgrade was about $1900USD. Each. Though this is much better than the price Mandy got on the phone a few months back which was about $3200 each.
We took off from Toronto at 6:10pm. Up in the air, we watched some movies to pass the time. I watched Zodiac and I wish I could have heard it better. I think it was really good. I watched Keeping up with the Joneses and Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children. We watched the sun set over the east coast of the US and then gazed into the blackness north out of the driver’s side of the plane, hoping to glimpse the Northern Lights. No such luck. We tried to force sleep that just wouldn’t come but in short bursts. Later, we watched the sun rise somewhere over the eastern Atlantic. We touched down in Munich at 2:01am “our” time, which is 8:01am local time.
From the airport, we made our way to Englischer Garten (English Garden) and more specifically, the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). It took us about an hour to get out of the airport. A combination of being in awe at the architecture, lost, and making it up as we went. Eventually, we found the train station that would get us where we needed to go. We took a train from the airport to Marienplatz, where we transferred to another train that took us to . Once there, we walked about a half hour, thinking we could find the English park on our own. Finally, we broke down and asked for help from a biker. It was about a 5 minute walk from the park if we had done it right from the beginning. Oh well. We grabbed a table outside and spread out all our gear. Finally, we had made it!
It was fantastic to sit for a few and fully relax. After a bit, I got up to explore the area around the tower, and came back with a pair of beers and some cookies. All of it was great, or maybe we were just starving. I don’t know. We reorganized our gear within our packs a bit to better suit us for exploration within Europe. After a little while of relaxing, drinking, and people watching, we caught sight of Dan and Chelsea, friends of ours from home. Not long after their arrival, Kerri (HEY!) and Theo arrived, too! We chatted with everyone over a couple rounds of beers about our respective journies to the park, and what our hopes were for the days ahead. The lemonade and weissbier was best. Eventually we all felt it was time to head out of the park and make our way to our house for stay in Munich.
But first we had to stop into the clothes shop just up the street from the park. The girls all tried on dirndls, but none found any they liked enough to buy. I tried on a few sizes of lederhosen, because I had no idea where to start. Size numbers are in the 40s and 50s. Eventually, I found some and made my purchase. Then, we were able to go to our house. We had to hop back on the train and head in the direction we came, and continue on toward Forestenreider Allee. From there, it was about a 5 minute walk and we were home. A man, presumably the owner, showed us where to go and how to get in. We all picked rooms and dumped our stuff before regrouping to get some dinner. We were so hungry!
We agreed to check out an Italian restaurant recommended by a random woman on the sidewalk. It was called de Gina. The hostess/waitress was very patient with us, and the food was fantastic. I got a dish with spaghetti and bacon. I got penne arrabiatta. By the end of dinner, we were all getting over-exhausted, and we agreed it was a good idea to go home and get some rest, early as it was. We were asleep before 8pm.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.